Today’s New York Daily News features a story about how MTA Board Members would be more understanding of riders’ gripes if they had to wait for a train that never came. It all began at the 23rd Street station where riders waited over 30 minutes for a train that was never going to come due to it being diverted.
The sad part was that no announcements were ever made & as the platform continued to get packed, one train after another came & went. Even a train mysteriously passed by! It was not until a conductor on a train urged riders to board the train to catch the later due to it being rerouted. Pete Donohue has more:
News comes dropping slow into the subway.
For those MTA board members who don’t seem to fully understand why riders gripe so much, here’s a scene from the Manhattan underground.
A handful of straphangers were on the Queens-bound F and M train platform at 23rd St. the other day. It was warmer than the tundra above, but still cold enough for you to see your breath.
More than 30 minutes passed without an F appearing. There wasn’t a single announcement. No explanation. No suggested options. Nothing.
A half hour doesn’t seem like much time when sitting in a toasty office overlooking Broadway or Madison Ave. It’s an eternity standing on a slab of concrete facing a wall of tiles that reminds you of your high school’s bathroom.
“It’s running. It’s running,” the token booth clerk said when a rider asked about the express.
Technically, he was correct. It just wasn’t running to that particular station.
The public address speakers were equally useless. One emitted a steady stream of white-noise static. Another squeaked like a child’s rubber duck repeatedly being stomped. A third buzzed like an electric shaver left on in perpetuity.
Three Queens-bound local M trains came to the station. So did an errant B train. Finally, an M train conductor told the express-pining riders to board her local as the F was rerouted.
“I didn’t know that. I’ve been standing here for 20 minutes,” said Nicole Smith, 32, a private chef from Hoboken, N.J. “That’s ridiculous.”
Matt Colombo, 28, a salesman from Union City, N.J., wasn’t surprised by the information void.
“They never say anything, and if they do, you can’t understand them because the speakers are so old,” he said.
Click here for the complete report.
I understand the point Pete was trying to make with this story. However I feel he missed the main angle that should have been played. This story is a perfect poster child for why real time information boards need to be installed at all stations. While the story did briefly touch on them, I feel it did not do so enough.
To the MTA’s credit, they are planning to double the amount of stations with boards by the end of the year. However I really hope the timetable can be faster for all stations. It is completely unacceptable that passengers are on a platform for a half hour waiting for a train that was never going to come.
This also shows how the agency continues to have a disconnect issue between employees in terms of information. The worker at the station told people the was running which was correct. However they failed to say that the train was not running at this specific station & it is easy to assume because they did not know. In this day & age, I find no legitimate reason possible as to why employees do not have real time information. I am disgusted by this whole situation.
xoxo Transit Blogger